This doc is for version 1.0.



hledger - a command-line accounting tool




hledger is a cross-platform program for tracking money, time, or any other commodity, using double-entry accounting and a simple, editable file format. hledger is inspired by and largely compatible with ledger(1).
Tested on unix, mac, windows, hledger aims to be a reliable, practical tool for daily use.

This is hledger’s command-line interface (there are also curses and web interfaces). Its basic function is to read a plain text file describing financial transactions (in accounting terms, a general journal) and print useful reports on standard output, or export them as CSV. hledger can also read some other file formats such as CSV files, translating them to journal format. Additionally, hledger lists other hledger-* executables found in the user’s $PATH and can invoke them as subcommands.

hledger reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal). If using $LEDGER_FILE, note this must be a real environment variable, not a shell variable. You can specify standard input with -f-.

Transactions are dated movements of money between two (or more) named accounts, and are recorded with journal entries like this:

2015/10/16 bought food
 expenses:food          $10

For more about this format, see hledger_journal(5).

Most users use a text editor to edit the journal, usually with an editor mode such as ledger-mode for added convenience. hledger’s interactive add command is another way to record new transactions. hledger never changes existing transactions.

To get started, you can either save some entries like the above in ~/.hledger.journal, or run hledger add and follow the prompts. Then try some commands like hledger print or hledger balance. See COMMANDS and EXAMPLES below.


Two simple transactions in hledger journal format:

2015/9/30 gift received
  assets:cash   $20

2015/10/16 farmers market
  expenses:food    $10

Some basic reports:

$ hledger print
2015/09/30 gift received
    assets:cash            $20
    income:gifts          $-20

2015/10/16 farmers market
    expenses:food           $10
    assets:cash            $-10
$ hledger accounts --tree
$ hledger balance
                 $10  assets:cash
                 $10  expenses:food
                $-20  income:gifts
$ hledger register cash
2015/09/30 gift received   assets:cash               $20           $20
2015/10/16 farmers market  assets:cash              $-10           $10

More commands:

$ hledger                                 # show available commands
$ hledger add                             # add more transactions to the journal file
$ hledger balance                         # all accounts with aggregated balances
$ hledger balance --help                  # show detailed help for balance command
$ hledger balance --depth 1               # only top-level accounts
$ hledger register                        # show account postings, with running total
$ hledger reg income                      # show postings to/from income accounts
$ hledger reg 'assets:some bank:checking' # show postings to/from this checking account
$ hledger print desc:shop                 # show transactions with shop in the description
$ hledger activity -W                     # show transaction counts per week as a bar chart

With the journal

2016/02/16 Member Fee Payment John Doe
    assets:bank account                                   2 EUR
    income:member fees                                  -2 EUR
      ; member: John Doe

the --pivot comand will output the following:

$ hledger bal --pivot member
    2 EUR  assets:bank account
   -2 EUR  member:John Doe


To see general usage and the command list: hledger -h or just hledger. To see usage for a specific command: hledger COMMAND -h.

hledger has several kinds of options:

  • General options are always available and can appear anywhere on the command line. hledger -h shows these. Eg: hledger --version.

  • Common reporting options are available with most commands. These and all other non-general options must be written after COMMAND. hledger COMMAND -h shows these. Eg: hledger register --cleared.

  • Command-specific options are also provided by some commands. hledger COMMAND -h shows these too. Eg: hledger register --average.

  • Some hledger commands come from separate add-on executables, which have their own options. hledger COMMAND -h shows these, as usual. Such options, if not also supported by hledger, should be written following a double hyphen argument (--) so that hledger's option parser does not complain. Eg: hledger ui -- --register=checking. Or, you can just run the add-on directly: hledger-ui --register=checking.

Command arguments may also follow the command name. In most cases these specify a query which filters the data. Command options and arguments can be intermixed.

Option and argument values containing problematic characters should be escaped with double quotes, backslashes, or (best) single quotes. This means spaces, but also characters which are significant to your command shell, such as less-than/greater-than. Eg: hledger register -p 'last year' "accounts receivable (receivable|payable)" amt:\>100.

Characters which are significant to the shell and also in regular expressions, like parentheses, the pipe symbol and the dollar sign, must sometimes be double-escaped. Eg, to match the dollar symbol: hledger balance cur:'\$' or hledger balance cur:\\$.

There's more.. options and arguments being passed by hledger to an add-on executable get de-escaped once in the process. In this case you might need triple-escaping. Eg: hledger ui cur:'\\$' or hledger ui cur:\\\\$.

If in doubt, keep things simple:

  • write options after the command

  • enclose problematic args in single quotes

  • if needed, also add a backslash to escape regexp metacharacters

  • run add-on executables directly

If you're really curious, add --debug=2 for troubleshooting.

General options:

-h : show general usage (or after COMMAND, the command's usage)

--help : show the current program's manual as plain text (or after an add-on COMMAND, the add-on's manual)

--man : show the current program's manual with man

--info : show the current program's manual with info

--version : show version

--debug[=N] : show debug output (levels 1-9, default: 1)

-f FILE --file=FILE : use a different input file. For stdin, use -

--rules-file=RULESFILE : Conversion rules file to use when reading CSV (default: FILE.rules)

--alias=OLD=NEW : display accounts named OLD as NEW

-I --ignore-assertions : ignore any failing balance assertions in the journal

Common reporting options:

-b --begin=DATE : include postings/txns on or after this date

-e --end=DATE : include postings/txns before this date

-D --daily : multiperiod/multicolumn report by day

-W --weekly : multiperiod/multicolumn report by week

-M --monthly : multiperiod/multicolumn report by month

-Q --quarterly : multiperiod/multicolumn report by quarter

-Y --yearly : multiperiod/multicolumn report by year

-p --period=PERIODEXP : set start date, end date, and/or reporting interval all at once (overrides the flags above)

--date2 : show, and match with -b/-e/-p/date:, secondary dates instead

-C --cleared : include only cleared postings/txns

--pending : include only pending postings/txns

-U --uncleared : include only uncleared (and pending) postings/txns

-R --real : include only non-virtual postings

--depth=N : hide accounts/postings deeper than N

-E --empty : show items with zero amount, normally hidden

-B --cost : convert amounts to their cost at transaction time (using the transaction price, if any)

--pivot TAG : will transform the journal before any other processing by replacing the account name of every posting having the tag TAG with content VALUE by the account name "TAG:VALUE". The TAG will only match if it is a full-length match. The pivot will only happen if the TAG is on a posting, not if it is on the transaction. If the tag value is a multi:level:account:name the new account name will be "TAG:multi:level:account:name".

--anon : show anonymized accounts and payees

Multiple files

You can specify multiple -f/--file FILE options. This is like combining all the files into one, except they can have different formats. Also directives and aliases in one file do not affect subsequent files (if you need that, use the include directive instead).

Repeated options

Otherwise, if a reporting option is repeated, the last one takes precedence. Eg -p jan -p feb is equivalent to -p feb.

Depth limiting

With the --depth N option, commands like account, balance and register will show only the uppermost accounts in the account tree, down to level N. Use this when you want a summary with less detail.

Smart dates

hledger's user interfaces accept a flexible "smart date" syntax (unlike dates in the journal file). Smart dates allow some english words, can be relative to today's date, and can have less-significant date parts omitted (defaulting to 1).


2009/1/1, 2009/01/01, 2009-1-1, 2009.1.1 simple dates, several separators allowed 2009/1, 2009 same as above - a missing day or month defaults to 1 1/1, january, jan, this year relative dates, meaning january 1 of the current year next year january 1 of next year this month the 1st of the current month this week the most recent monday last week the monday of the week before this one lastweek spaces are optional today, yesterday, tomorrow

Report intervals

A report interval can be specified so that commands like register, balance and activity will divide their reports into multiple subperiods. The basic intervals can be selected with one of -D/--daily, -W/--weekly, -M/--monthly, -Q/--quarterly, or -Y/--yearly. More complex intervals may be specified with a period expression.

Period expressions

The -p/--period option accepts period expressions, a shorthand way of expressing a start date, end date, and/or report interval all at once.

Here's a basic period expression specifying the first quarter of 2009. Note, hledger always treats start dates as inclusive and end dates as exclusive:

-p "from 2009/1/1 to 2009/4/1"

Keywords like "from" and "to" are optional, and so are the spaces, as long as you don't run two dates together. "to" can also be written as "-". These are equivalent to the above:

-p "2009/1/1 2009/4/1" -p2009/1/1to2009/4/1 -p2009/1/1-2009/4/1

Dates are smart dates, so if the current year is 2009, the above can also be written as:

-p "1/1 4/1" -p "january-apr" -p "this year to 4/1"

If you specify only one date, the missing start or end date will be the earliest or latest transaction in your journal:

-p "from 2009/1/1" everything after january 1, 2009 -p "from 2009/1" the same -p "from 2009" the same -p "to 2009" everything before january 1, 2009

A single date with no "from" or "to" defines both the start and end date like so:

-p "2009" the year 2009; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2010/1/1" -p "2009/1" the month of jan; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2009/2/1" -p "2009/1/1" just that day; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2009/1/2"

The argument of -p can also begin with, or be, a report interval expression. The basic report intervals are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, which have the same effect as the -D,-W,-M,-Q, or -Y flags. Between report interval and start/end dates (if any), the word in is optional. Examples:

-p "weekly from 2009/1/1 to 2009/4/1" -p "monthly in 2008" -p "quarterly"

The following more complex report intervals are also supported: biweekly, bimonthly, every N days|weeks|months|quarters|years, every Nth day [of month], every Nth day of week.


-p "bimonthly from 2008" -p "every 2 weeks" -p "every 5 days from 1/3"

Show historical balances at end of 15th each month (N is exclusive end date):

hledger balance -H -p "every 16th day"

Group postings from start of wednesday to end of next tuesday (N is start date and exclusive end date):

hledger register checking -p "every 3rd day of week"

Regular expressions

hledger uses regular expressions in a number of places:

  • query terms, on the command line and in the hledger-web search form: REGEX, desc:REGEX, cur:REGEX, tag:...=REGEX

  • CSV rules conditional blocks: if REGEX ...

  • account alias directives and options: alias /REGEX/ = REPLACEMENT, --alias /REGEX/=REPLACEMENT

hledger's regular expressions come from the regex-tdfa library. In general they:

Some things to note:

  • In the alias directive and --alias option, regular expressions must be enclosed in forward slashes (/REGEX/). Elsewhere in hledger, these are not required.

  • To match a regular expression metacharacter like $ as a literal character, prepend a backslash. Eg to search for amounts with the dollar sign in hledger-web, write cur:\$.

  • On the command line, some metacharacters like $ have a special meaning to the shell and so must be escaped a second time, with single or double quotes or another backslash. Eg, to match amounts with the dollar sign from the command line, write cur:'\$' or cur:\\$.


One of hledger's strengths is being able to quickly report on precise subsets of your data. Most commands accept an optional query expression, written as arguments after the command name, to filter the data by date, account name or other criteria. The syntax is similar to a web search: one or more space-separated search terms, quotes to enclose whitespace, optional prefixes to match specific fields. Multiple search terms are combined as follows:

All commands except print: show transactions/postings/accounts which match (or negatively match)

  • any of the description terms AND

  • any of the account terms AND

  • all the other terms.

The print command: show transactions which

  • match any of the description terms AND

  • have any postings matching any of the positive account terms AND

  • have no postings matching any of the negative account terms AND

  • match all the other terms.

The following kinds of search terms can be used:

REGEX : match account names by this regular expression

acct:REGEX : same as above

amt:N, amt:<N, amt:<=N, amt:>N, amt:>=N : match postings with a single-commodity amount that is equal to, less than, or greater than N. (Multi-commodity amounts are not tested, and will always match.) The comparison has two modes: if N is preceded by a + or - sign (or is 0), the two signed numbers are compared. Otherwise, the absolute magnitudes are compared, ignoring sign.

code:REGEX : match by transaction code (eg check number)

cur:REGEX : match postings or transactions including any amounts whose currency/commodity symbol is fully matched by REGEX. (For a partial match, use .*REGEX.*). Note, to match characters which are regex-significant, like the dollar sign ($), you need to prepend \. And when using the command line you need to add one more level of quoting to hide it from the shell, so eg do: hledger print cur:'\$' or hledger print cur:\\$.

desc:REGEX : match transaction descriptions

date:PERIODEXPR : match dates within the specified period. PERIODEXPR is a period expression (with no report interval). Examples: date:2016, date:thismonth, date:2000/2/1-2/15, date:lastweek-. If the --date2 command line flag is present, this matches secondary dates instead.

date2:PERIODEXPR : match secondary dates within the specified period.

depth:N : match (or display, depending on command) accounts at or above this depth

real:, real:0 : match real or virtual postings respectively

status:*, status:!, status: : match cleared, pending, or uncleared/pending transactions respectively

tag:REGEX[=REGEX] : match by tag name, and optionally also by tag value. Note a tag: query is considered to match a transaction if it matches any of the postings. Also remember that postings inherit the tags of their parent transaction.

not: : before any of the above negates the match.

inacct:ACCTNAME : a special term used automatically when you click an account name in hledger-web, specifying the account register we are currently in (selects the transactions of that account and how to show them, can be filtered further with acct etc). Not supported elsewhere in hledger.

Some of these can also be expressed as command-line options (eg depth:2 is equivalent to --depth 2). Generally you can mix options and query arguments, and the resulting query will be their intersection (perhaps excluding the -p/--period option).


hledger provides a number of subcommands; hledger with no arguments shows a list.

If you install additional hledger-* packages, or if you put programs or scripts named hledger-NAME in your PATH, these will also be listed as subcommands.

Run a subcommand by writing its name as first argument (eg hledger incomestatement). You can also write any unambiguous prefix of a command name (hledger inc), or one of the standard short aliases displayed in the command list (hledger is).


Show account names.

--tree : show short account names, as a tree

--flat : show full account names, as a list (default)

--drop=N : in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts

This command lists all account names that are in use (ie, all the accounts which have at least one transaction posting to them). With query arguments, only matched account names are shown.

It shows a flat list by default. With --tree, it uses indentation to show the account hierarchy.

In flat mode you can add --drop N to omit the first few account name components.


$ hledger accounts --tree
$ hledger accounts --drop 1
$ hledger accounts


Show an ascii barchart of posting counts per interval.

The activity command displays an ascii histogram showing transaction counts by day, week, month or other reporting interval (by day is the default). With query arguments, it counts only matched transactions.

$ hledger activity --quarterly
2008-01-01 **
2008-04-01 *******
2008-10-01 **


Prompt for transactions and add them to the journal.

--no-new-accounts : don't allow creating new accounts; helps prevent typos when entering account names

Many hledger users edit their journals directly with a text editor, or generate them from CSV. For more interactive data entry, there is the add command, which prompts interactively on the console for new transactions, and appends them to the journal file (if there are multiple -f FILE options, the first file is used.) Existing transactions are not changed. This is the only hledger command that writes to the journal file.

To use it, just run hledger add and follow the prompts. You can add as many transactions as you like; when you are finished, enter . or press control-d or control-c to exit.


  • add tries to provide useful defaults, using the most similar recent transaction (by description) as a template.

  • You can also set the initial defaults with command line arguments.

  • Readline-style edit keys can be used during data entry.

  • The tab key will auto-complete whenever possible - accounts, descriptions, dates (yesterday, today, tomorrow). If the input area is empty, it will insert the default value.

  • If the journal defines a default commodity, it will be added to any bare numbers entered.

  • A parenthesised transaction code may be entered following a date.

  • Comments and tags may be entered following a description or amount.

  • If you make a mistake, enter < at any prompt to restart the transaction.

  • Input prompts are displayed in a different colour when the terminal supports it.

Example (see the tutorial for a detailed explanation):

$ hledger add
Adding transactions to journal file /src/hledger/data/sample.journal
Any command line arguments will be used as defaults.
Use tab key to complete, readline keys to edit, enter to accept defaults.
An optional (CODE) may follow transaction dates.
An optional ; COMMENT may follow descriptions or amounts.
If you make a mistake, enter < at any prompt to restart the transaction.
To end a transaction, enter . when prompted.
To quit, enter . at a date prompt or press control-d or control-c.
Date [2015/05/22]: 
Description: supermarket
Account 1: expenses:food
Amount  1: $10
Account 2: assets:checking
Amount  2 [$-10.0]: 
Account 3 (or . or enter to finish this transaction): .
2015/05/22 supermarket
    expenses:food             $10
    assets:checking        $-10.0

Save this transaction to the journal ? [y]: 
Starting the next transaction (. or ctrl-D/ctrl-C to quit)
Date [2015/05/22]: <CTRL-D> $


Show accounts and their balances. Alias: bal.

--change : show balance change in each period (default)

--cumulative : show balance change accumulated across periods (in multicolumn reports)

-H --historical : show historical ending balance in each period (includes postings before report start date)

--tree : show accounts as a tree; amounts include subaccounts (default in simple reports)

--flat : show accounts as a list; amounts exclude subaccounts except when account is depth-clipped (default in multicolumn reports)

-V --value : convert amounts to current market value in their default valuation commodity

-A --average : show a row average column (in multicolumn mode)

-T --row-total : show a row total column (in multicolumn mode)

-N --no-total : don't show the final total row

--drop=N : omit N leading account name parts (in flat mode)

--no-elide : don't squash boring parent accounts (in tree mode)

--format=LINEFORMAT : in single-column balance reports: use this custom line format

-O FMT --output-format=FMT : select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.

-o FILE --output-file=FILE : write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

The balance command displays accounts and balances. It is hledger's most featureful and most useful command.

$ hledger balance
                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash
                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies
                 $-2  income
                 $-1    gifts
                 $-1    salary
                  $1  liabilities:debts

More precisely, the balance command shows the change to each account's balance caused by all (matched) postings. In the common case where you do not filter by date and your journal sets the correct opening balances, this is the same as the account's ending balance.

By default, accounts are displayed hierarchically, with subaccounts indented below their parent. "Boring" accounts, which contain a single interesting subaccount and no balance of their own, are elided into the following line for more compact output. (Use --no-elide to prevent this.)

Each account's balance is the "inclusive" balance - it includes the balances of any subaccounts.

Accounts which have zero balance (and no non-zero subaccounts) are omitted. Use -E/--empty to show them.

A final total is displayed by default; use -N/--no-total to suppress it:

$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses --no-total
                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies

Flat mode

To see a flat list of full account names instead of the default hierarchical display, use --flat. In this mode, accounts (unless depth-clipped) show their "exclusive" balance, excluding any subaccount balances. In this mode, you can also use --drop N to omit the first few account name components.

$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses -N --flat --drop 1
                  $1  food
                  $1  supplies

Depth limited balance reports

With --depth N, balance shows accounts only to the specified depth. This is very useful to show a complex charts of accounts in less detail. In flat mode, balances from accounts below the depth limit will be shown as part of a parent account at the depth limit.

$ hledger balance -N --depth 1
                 $-1  assets
                  $2  expenses
                 $-2  income
                  $1  liabilities

Multicolumn balance reports

With a reporting interval, multiple balance columns will be shown, one for each report period. There are three types of multi-column balance report, showing different information:

  1. By default: each column shows the sum of postings in that period, ie the account's change of balance in that period. This is useful eg for a monthly income statement: <!-- multi-column income statement:

    $ hledger balance ^income ^expense -p 'monthly this year' --depth 3

    or cashflow statement:

    $ hledger balance ^assets ^liabilities 'not:(receivable|payable)' -p 'weekly this month' -->

    $ hledger balance --quarterly income expenses -E
    Balance changes in 2008:
                       ||  2008q1  2008q2  2008q3  2008q4 
     expenses:food     ||       0      $1       0       0 
     expenses:supplies ||       0      $1       0       0 
     income:gifts      ||       0     $-1       0       0 
     income:salary     ||     $-1       0       0       0 
                       ||     $-1      $1       0       0 
  2. With --cumulative: each column shows the ending balance for that period, accumulating the changes across periods, starting from 0 at the report start date:

    $ hledger balance --quarterly income expenses -E --cumulative
    Ending balances (cumulative) in 2008:
                       ||  2008/03/31  2008/06/30  2008/09/30  2008/12/31 
     expenses:food     ||           0          $1          $1          $1 
     expenses:supplies ||           0          $1          $1          $1 
     income:gifts      ||           0         $-1         $-1         $-1 
     income:salary     ||         $-1         $-1         $-1         $-1 
                       ||         $-1           0           0           0 
  3. With --historical/-H: each column shows the actual historical ending balance for that period, accumulating the changes across periods, starting from the actual balance at the report start date. This is useful eg for a multi-period balance sheet, and when you are showing only the data after a certain start date:

    $ hledger balance ^assets ^liabilities --quarterly --historical --begin 2008/4/1
    Ending balances (historical) in 2008/04/01-2008/12/31:
                          ||  2008/06/30  2008/09/30  2008/12/31 
     assets:bank:checking ||          $1          $1           0 
     assets:bank:saving   ||          $1          $1          $1 
     assets:cash          ||         $-2         $-2         $-2 
     liabilities:debts    ||           0           0          $1 
                          ||           0           0           0 

Multi-column balance reports display accounts in flat mode by default; to see the hierarchy, use --tree.

With a reporting interval (like --quarterly above), the report start/end dates will be adjusted if necessary so that they encompass the displayed report periods. This is so that the first and last periods will be "full" and comparable to the others.

The -E/--empty flag does two things in multicolumn balance reports: first, the report will show all columns within the specified report period (without -E, leading and trailing columns with all zeroes are not shown). Second, all accounts which existed at the report start date will be considered, not just the ones with activity during the report period (use -E to include low-activity accounts which would otherwise would be omitted).

The -T/--row-total flag adds an additional column showing the total for each row.

The -A/--average flag adds a column showing the average value in each row.

Here's an example of all three:

$ hledger balance -Q income expenses --tree -ETA
Balance changes in 2008:

            ||  2008q1  2008q2  2008q3  2008q4    Total  Average 
 expenses   ||       0      $2       0       0       $2       $1 
   food     ||       0      $1       0       0       $1        0 
   supplies ||       0      $1       0       0       $1        0 
 income     ||     $-1     $-1       0       0      $-2      $-1 
   gifts    ||       0     $-1       0       0      $-1        0 
   salary   ||     $-1       0       0       0      $-1        0 
            ||     $-1      $1       0       0        0        0 

# Average is rounded to the dollar here since all journal amounts are

Market value

The -V/--value flag converts all the reported amounts to their "current market value" using their default market price. That is the latest market price (P directive) found in the journal (or an included file), for the amount's commodity, dated on or before the report end date.

Unlike Ledger, hledger's -V only uses the market prices recorded with P directives, ignoring transaction prices recorded as part of posting amounts (which -B/--cost uses). Using -B and -V together is allowed.

Custom balance output

In simple (non-multi-column) balance reports, you can customise the output with --format FMT:

$ hledger balance --format "%20(account) %12(total)"
              assets          $-1
         bank:saving           $1
                cash          $-2
            expenses           $2
                food           $1
            supplies           $1
              income          $-2
               gifts          $-1
              salary          $-1
   liabilities:debts           $1

The FMT format string (plus a newline) specifies the formatting applied to each account/balance pair. It may contain any suitable text, with data fields interpolated like so:


  • MIN pads with spaces to at least this width (optional)

  • MAX truncates at this width (optional)

  • FIELDNAME must be enclosed in parentheses, and can be one of:

    • depth_spacer - a number of spaces equal to the account's depth, or if MIN is specified, MIN * depth spaces.

    • account - the account's name

    • total - the account's balance/posted total, right justified

Also, FMT can begin with an optional prefix to control how multi-commodity amounts are rendered:

  • %_ - render on multiple lines, bottom-aligned (the default)

  • %^ - render on multiple lines, top-aligned

  • %, - render on one line, comma-separated

There are some quirks. Eg in one-line mode, %(depth_spacer) has no effect, instead %(account) has indentation built in. Experimentation may be needed to get pleasing results.

Some example formats:

  • %(total) - the account's total

  • %-20.20(account) - the account's name, left justified, padded to 20 characters and clipped at 20 characters

  • %,%-50(account)  %25(total) - account name padded to 50 characters, total padded to 20 characters, with multiple commodities rendered on one line

  • %20(total)  %2(depth_spacer)%-(account) - the default format for the single-column balance report

Output destination

The balance, print, register and stats commands can write their output to a destination other than the console. This is controlled by the -o/--output-file option.

$ hledger balance -o -     # write to stdout (the default)
$ hledger balance -o FILE  # write to FILE

CSV output

The balance, print and register commands can write their output as CSV. This is useful for exporting data to other applications, eg to make charts in a spreadsheet. This is controlled by the -O/--output-format option, or by specifying a .csv file extension with -o/--output-file.

$ hledger balance -O csv       # write CSV to stdout
$ hledger balance -o FILE.csv  # write CSV to FILE.csv


Show a balance sheet. Alias: bs.

--flat : show full account names, as a list (default)

--drop=N : in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts

This command displays a simple balance sheet. It currently assumes that you have top-level accounts named asset and liability (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger balancesheet
Balance Sheet

                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash

                  $1  liabilities:debts



Show a cashflow statement. Alias: cf.

--flat : show full account names, as a list (default)

--drop=N : in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts

This command displays a simple cashflow statement It shows the change in all "cash" (ie, liquid assets) accounts for the period. It currently assumes that cash accounts are under a top-level account named asset and do not contain receivable or A/R (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger cashflow
Cashflow Statement

Cash flows:
                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash



Show any of the hledger manuals.

The help command displays any of the main hledger man pages. (Unlike hledger --help, which displays only the hledger man page.) Run it with no arguments to list available topics (their names are shortened for easier typing), and run hledger help TOPIC to select one. The output is similar to a man page, but fixed width. It may be long, so you may wish to pipe it into a pager. See also info and man.

$ hledger help
Choose a topic, eg: hledger help cli
cli, ui, web, api, journal, csv, timeclock, timedot
$ hledger help cli | less

hledger(1)                   hledger User Manuals                   hledger(1)

       hledger - a command-line accounting tool

       hledger [-f FILE] COMMAND [OPTIONS] [CMDARGS]
       hledger [-f FILE] ADDONCMD -- [OPTIONS] [CMDARGS]


Show an income statement. Alias: is.

--flat : show full account names, as a list (default)

--drop=N : in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts

This command displays a simple income statement. It currently assumes that you have top-level accounts named income (or revenue) and expense (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger incomestatement
Income Statement

                 $-2  income
                 $-1    gifts
                 $-1    salary

                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies



Show any of the hledger manuals using info.

The info command displays any of the hledger reference manuals using the info hypertextual documentation viewer. This can be a very efficient way to browse large manuals. It requires the "info" program to be available in your PATH.

As with help, run it with no arguments to list available topics (manuals).


Show any of the hledger manuals using man.

The man command displays any of the hledger reference manuals using man, the standard documentation viewer on unix systems. This will fit the text to your terminal width, and probably invoke a pager automatically. It requires the "man" program to be available in your PATH.

As with help, run it with no arguments to list available topics (manuals).


Show transactions from the journal.

-m STR --match=STR : show the transaction whose description is most similar to STR, and is most recent

-O FMT --output-format=FMT : select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.

-o FILE --output-file=FILE : write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

$ hledger print
2008/01/01 income
    assets:bank:checking            $1
    income:salary                  $-1

2008/06/01 gift
    assets:bank:checking            $1
    income:gifts                   $-1

2008/06/02 save
    assets:bank:saving              $1
    assets:bank:checking           $-1

2008/06/03 * eat & shop
    expenses:food                $1
    expenses:supplies            $1
    assets:cash                 $-2

2008/12/31 * pay off
    liabilities:debts               $1
    assets:bank:checking           $-1

The print command displays full transactions from the journal file, tidily formatted and showing all amounts explicitly. The output of print is always a valid hledger journal, but it does always not preserve all original content exactly (eg directives).

hledger's print command also shows all unit prices in effect, or (with -B/--cost) shows cost amounts.

The print command also supports output destination and CSV output.


Show postings and their running total. Alias: reg.

--cumulative : show running total from report start date (default)

-H --historical : show historical running total/balance (includes postings before report start date)

-A --average : show running average of posting amounts instead of total (implies --empty)

-r --related : show postings' siblings instead

-w N --width=N : set output width (default: terminal width or COLUMNS. -wN,M sets description width as well)

-O FMT --output-format=FMT : select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.

-o FILE --output-file=FILE : write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

The register command displays postings, one per line, and their running total. This is typically used with a query selecting a particular account, to see that account's activity:

$ hledger register checking
2008/01/01 income               assets:bank:checking            $1            $1
2008/06/01 gift                 assets:bank:checking            $1            $2
2008/06/02 save                 assets:bank:checking           $-1            $1
2008/12/31 pay off              assets:bank:checking           $-1             0

The --historical/-H flag adds the balance from any undisplayed prior postings to the running total. This is useful when you want to see only recent activity, with a historically accurate running balance:

$ hledger register checking -b 2008/6 --historical
2008/06/01 gift                 assets:bank:checking            $1            $2
2008/06/02 save                 assets:bank:checking           $-1            $1
2008/12/31 pay off              assets:bank:checking           $-1             0

The --depth option limits the amount of sub-account detail displayed.

The --average/-A flag shows the running average posting amount instead of the running total (so, the final number displayed is the average for the whole report period). This flag implies --empty (see below). It is affected by --historical. It works best when showing just one account and one commodity.

The --related/-r flag shows the other postings in the transactions of the postings which would normally be shown.

With a reporting interval, register shows summary postings, one per interval, aggregating the postings to each account:

$ hledger register --monthly income
2008/01                 income:salary                          $-1           $-1
2008/06                 income:gifts                           $-1           $-2

Periods with no activity, and summary postings with a zero amount, are not shown by default; use the --empty/-E flag to see them:

$ hledger register --monthly income -E
2008/01                 income:salary                          $-1           $-1
2008/02                                                          0           $-1
2008/03                                                          0           $-1
2008/04                                                          0           $-1
2008/05                                                          0           $-1
2008/06                 income:gifts                           $-1           $-2
2008/07                                                          0           $-2
2008/08                                                          0           $-2
2008/09                                                          0           $-2
2008/10                                                          0           $-2
2008/11                                                          0           $-2
2008/12                                                          0           $-2

Often, you'll want to see just one line per interval. The --depth option helps with this, causing subaccounts to be aggregated:

$ hledger register --monthly assets --depth 1h
2008/01                 assets                                  $1            $1
2008/06                 assets                                 $-1             0
2008/12                 assets                                 $-1           $-1

Note when using report intervals, if you specify start/end dates these will be adjusted outward if necessary to contain a whole number of intervals. This ensures that the first and last intervals are full length and comparable to the others in the report.

Custom register output

register uses the full terminal width by default, except on windows. You can override this by setting the COLUMNS environment variable (not a bash shell variable) or by using the --width/-w option.

The description and account columns normally share the space equally (about half of (width - 40) each). You can adjust this by adding a description width as part of --width's argument, comma-separated: --width W,D . Here's a diagram:

<--------------------------------- width (W) ---------------------------------->
date (10)  description (D)       account (W-41-D)     amount (12)   balance (12)
DDDDDDDDDD dddddddddddddddddddd  aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  AAAAAAAAAAAA  AAAAAAAAAAAA

and some examples:

$ hledger reg                     # use terminal width (or 80 on windows)
$ hledger reg -w 100              # use width 100
$ COLUMNS=100 hledger reg         # set with one-time environment variable
$ export COLUMNS=100; hledger reg # set till session end (or window resize)
$ hledger reg -w 100,40           # set overall width 100, description width 40
$ hledger reg -w $COLUMNS,40      # use terminal width, and set description width

The register command also supports the -o/--output-file and -O/--output-format options for controlling output destination and CSV output.


Show some journal statistics.

-o FILE --output-file=FILE : write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

$ hledger stats
Main journal file        : /src/hledger/data/sample.journal
Included journal files   : 
Transactions span        : 2008-01-01 to 2009-01-01 (366 days)
Last transaction         : 2008-12-31 (2333 days ago)
Transactions             : 5 (0.0 per day)
Transactions last 30 days: 0 (0.0 per day)
Transactions last 7 days : 0 (0.0 per day)
Payees/descriptions      : 5
Accounts                 : 8 (depth 3)
Commodities              : 1 ($)

The stats command displays summary information for the whole journal, or a matched part of it. With a reporting interval, it shows a report for each report period.

The stats command also supports -o/--output-file for controlling output destination.


Run built-in unit tests.

$ hledger test
Cases: 74  Tried: 74  Errors: 0  Failures: 0

This command runs hledger's built-in unit tests and displays a quick report. With a regular expression argument, it selects only tests with matching names. It's mainly used in development, but it's also nice to be able to check your hledger executable for smoke at any time.


Add-on commands are executables in your PATH whose name starts with hledger- and ends with any of these file extensions: none, .hs,.lhs,.pl,.py,.rb,.rkt,.sh,.bat,.com,.exe. Also, an add-on's name may not be the same as any built-in command or alias.

hledger will detect these and include them in the command list and let you invoke them with hledger ADDONCMD. However there are some limitations:

  • Options appearing before ADDONCMD will be visible only to hledger and will not be passed to the add-on. Eg: hledger -h web shows hledger's usage, hledger web -h shows hledger-web's usage.

  • Options understood only by the add-on must go after a -- argument to hide them from hledger, which would otherwise reject them. Eg: hledger web -- --server.

Sometimes it may be more convenient to just run the add-on directly, eg: hledger-web --server.

Add-ons which are written in haskell can take advantage of the hledger-lib library for journal parsing, reporting, command-line options, etc.

Here are some hledger add-ons available from Hackage, the extra directory in the hledger source, or elsewhere:


Web API server, see hledger-api.


Download OFX bank data and/or convert OFX to hledger journal format.

$ hledger autosync --help
usage: hledger-autosync [-h] [-m MAX] [-r] [-a ACCOUNT] [-l LEDGER] [-i INDENT]
                        [--initial] [--fid FID] [--assertions] [-d] [--hledger]
                        [--slow] [--which]

Synchronize ledger.

positional arguments:
  PATH                  do not sync; import from OFX file

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -m MAX, --max MAX     maximum number of days to process
  -r, --resync          do not stop until max days reached
  -a ACCOUNT, --account ACCOUNT
                        set account name for import
  -l LEDGER, --ledger LEDGER
                        specify ledger file to READ for syncing
  -i INDENT, --indent INDENT
                        number of spaces to use for indentation
  --initial             create initial balance entries
  --fid FID             pass in fid value for OFX files that do not supply it
  --assertions          create balance assertion entries
  -d, --debug           enable debug logging
  --hledger             force use of hledger (on by default if invoked as hledger-
  --slow                use slow, but possibly more robust, method of calling ledger
                        (no subprocess)
  --which               display which version of ledger/hledger/ledger-python will
                        be used by ledger-autosync to check for previous
$ head acct1.ofx

$ hledger autosync acct1.ofx
    ; ofxid: 3000.4303001832.201308301
    WF:4303001832                               -$6.00
    [assets:business:bank:wf:bchecking:banking]  $6.00

ledger-autosync, which includes a hledger-autosync alias, downloads transactions from your bank(s) via OFX, and prints just the new ones as journal entries which you can add to your journal. It can also operate on .OFX files which you've downloaded manually. It can be a nice alternative to hledger's built-in CSV reader, especially if your bank supports OFX download.


Show transactions present in one journal file but not another

$ hledger diff --help
Usage: hledger-diff account:name left.journal right.journal
$ cat a.journal
 (acct:one)  1

$ cat b.journal
 (acct:one)  1
 (acct:two)  2

$ hledger diff acct:two a.journal b.journal
Unmatched transactions in the first journal:

Unmatched transactions in the second journal:

    (acct:two)            $2

hledger-diff compares two journal files. Given an account name, it prints out the transactions affecting that account which are in one journal file but not in the other. This can be useful for reconciling existing journals with bank statements.


Print a journal entry that resets account balances to zero.

$ hledger balance --flat -E assets liabilities
                   0  assets:bank:checking
                  $1  assets:bank:saving
                 $-2  assets:cash
                  $1  liabilities:debts
$ hledger equity assets liabilities
    assets:bank:saving                $-1
    assets:cash                        $2
    liabilities:debts                 $-1
    equity:closing balances             0

    assets:bank:saving                 $1
    assets:cash                       $-2
    liabilities:debts                  $1
    equity:opening balances             0

This prints a journal entry which zeroes out the specified accounts (or all accounts) with a transfer to/from "equity:closing balances" (like Ledger's equity command). Also, it prints an similar entry with opposite sign for restoring the balances from "equity:opening balances".

These can be useful for ending one journal file and starting a new one, respectively. By zeroing your asset and liability accounts at the end of a file and restoring them at the start of the next one, you will see correct asset/liability balances whether you run hledger on just one file, or on several files concatenated with include.


Generate interest transactions.

$ hledger interest --help
Usage: hledger-interest [OPTION...] ACCOUNT
  -h          --help            print this message and exit
  -V          --version         show version number and exit
  -v          --verbose         echo input ledger to stdout (default)
  -q          --quiet           don't echo input ledger to stdout
              --today           compute interest up until today
  -f FILE     --file=FILE       input ledger file (pass '-' for stdin)
  -s ACCOUNT  --source=ACCOUNT  interest source account
  -t ACCOUNT  --target=ACCOUNT  interest target account
              --act             use 'act' day counting convention
              --30-360          use '30/360' day counting convention
              --30E-360         use '30E/360' day counting convention
              --30E-360isda     use '30E/360isda' day counting convention
              --constant=RATE   constant interest rate
              --annual=RATE     annual interest rate
              --bgb288          compute interest according to German BGB288
              --ing-diba        compute interest according for Ing-Diba Tagesgeld account
$ cat interest.journal
2008/09/26 Loan
     Assets:Bank          EUR 10000.00

2008/11/27 Payment
     Assets:Bank          EUR -3771.12

2009/05/03 Payment
     Assets:Bank          EUR -1200.00

2010/12/10 Payment
     Assets:Bank          EUR -3700.00
$ hledger interest -- -f interest.journal --source=Expenses:Interest \
    --target=Liabilities:Bank --30-360 --annual=0.05 Liabilities:Bank
2008/09/26 Loan
    Assets:Bank       EUR 10000.00
    Liabilities:Bank  EUR -10000.00

2008/11/27 0.05% interest for EUR -10000.00 over 61 days
    Liabilities:Bank     EUR -84.72
    Expenses:Interest     EUR 84.72

2008/11/27 Payment
    Assets:Bank       EUR -3771.12
    Liabilities:Bank   EUR 3771.12

2008/12/31 0.05% interest for EUR -6313.60 over 34 days
    Liabilities:Bank     EUR -29.81
    Expenses:Interest     EUR 29.81

2009/05/03 0.05% interest for EUR -6343.42 over 123 days
    Liabilities:Bank    EUR -108.37
    Expenses:Interest    EUR 108.37

2009/05/03 Payment
    Assets:Bank       EUR -1200.00
    Liabilities:Bank   EUR 1200.00

2009/12/31 0.05% interest for EUR -5251.78 over 238 days
    Liabilities:Bank    EUR -173.60
    Expenses:Interest    EUR 173.60

2010/12/10 0.05% interest for EUR -5425.38 over 340 days
    Liabilities:Bank    EUR -256.20
    Expenses:Interest    EUR 256.20

2010/12/10 Payment
    Assets:Bank       EUR -3700.00
    Liabilities:Bank   EUR 3700.00

hledger-interest computes interests for a given account. Using command line flags, the program can be configured to use various schemes for day-counting, such as act/act, 30/360, 30E/360, and 30/360isda. Furthermore, it supports a (small) number of interest schemes, i.e. annual interest with a fixed rate and the scheme mandated by the German BGB288 (Basiszins für Verbrauchergeschäfte). See the package page for more.


Calculate internal rate of return.

$ hledger irr --help
Usage: hledger-irr [OPTION...]
  -h          --help                        print this message and exit
  -V          --version                     show version number and exit
  -c          --cashflow                    also show all revant transactions
  -f FILE     --file=FILE                   input ledger file (pass '-' for stdin)
  -i ACCOUNT  --investment-account=ACCOUNT  investment account
  -t ACCOUNT  --interest-account=ACCOUNT    interest/gain/fees/losses account
  -b DATE     --begin=DATE                  calculate interest from this date
  -e DATE     --end=DATE                    calculate interest until this date
  -D          --daily                       calculate interest for each day
  -W          --weekly                      calculate interest for each week
  -M          --monthly                     calculate interest for each month
  -Y          --yearly                      calculate interest for each year
$ cat irr.journal 
2011-01-01 Some wild speculation – I wonder if it pays off
   Speculation   €100.00

2011-02-01 More speculation (and adjustment of value)
   Cash         -€10.00
   Rate Gain     -€1.00

2011-03-01 Lets pull out some money (and adjustment of value)
   Cash          €30.00
   Rate Gain     -€3.00

2011-04-01 More speculation (and it lost some money!)
   Cash         -€50.00
   Rate Gain     € 5.00

2011-05-01 Getting some money out (and adjustment of value)
   Speculation  -€44.00
   Rate Gain    -€ 3.00

2011-06-01 Emptying the account (after adjusting the value)
   Speculation   -€85.00
   Cash           €90.00
   Rate Gain     -€ 5.00
$ hledger-irr -f irr.journal -t "Rate Gain" -i Speculation  --monthly
2011/01/01 - 2011/02/01: 12.49%
2011/02/01 - 2011/03/01: 41.55%
2011/03/01 - 2011/04/01: -51.44%
2011/04/01 - 2011/05/01: 32.24%
2011/05/01 - 2011/06/01: 95.92%

hledger-irr computes the internal rate of return, also known as the effective interest rate, of a given investment. After specifying what account holds the investment, and what account stores the gains (or losses, or fees, or cost), it calculates the hypothetical annual rate of fixed rate investment that would have provided the exact same cash flow. See the package page for more.


Prints all journal entries, adding specified custom postings to matched entries.

hledger-rewrite.hs, in hledger's extra directory (compilation optional), adds postings to existing transactions, optionally with an amount based on the existing transaction's first amount. See the script for more details.

$ hledger rewrite -- [QUERY]        --add-posting "ACCT  AMTEXPR" ...
$ hledger rewrite -- ^income        --add-posting '(liabilities:tax)  *.33'
$ hledger rewrite -- expenses:gifts --add-posting '(budget:gifts)  *-1"'


Curses-style interface, see hledger-ui.


Web interface, see hledger-web.


Run-time problems

Here are some issues you might encounter when you run hledger (and remember you can also seek help from the IRC channel, mail list or bug tracker):

Successfully installed, but "No command 'hledger' found"
stack and cabal install binaries into a special directory, which should be added to your PATH environment variable. Eg on unix-like systems, that is ~/.local/bin and ~/.cabal/bin respectively.

I set a custom LEDGER_FILE, but hledger is still using the default file
LEDGER_FILE should be a real environment variable, not just a shell variable. The command env | grep LEDGER_FILE should show it. You may need to use export. Here's an explanation.

"Illegal byte sequence" or "Invalid or incomplete multibyte or wide character" errors
In order to handle non-ascii letters and symbols (like £), hledger needs an appropriate locale. This is usually configured system-wide; you can also configure it temporarily. The locale may need to be one that supports UTF-8, if you built hledger with GHC < 7.2 (or possibly always, I'm not sure yet).

Here's an example of setting the locale temporarily, on ubuntu gnu/linux:

$ file my.journal
my.journal: UTF-8 Unicode text                 # <- the file is UTF8-encoded
$ locale -a
en_US.utf8                             # <- a UTF8-aware locale is available
$ LANG=en_US.utf8 hledger -f my.journal print   # <- use it for this command

Here's one way to set it permanently, there are probably better ways:

$ echo "export LANG=en_US.UTF-8" >>~/.bash_profile
$ bash --login

If we preferred to use eg fr_FR.utf8, we might have to install that first:

$ apt-get install language-pack-fr
$ locale -a
$ LANG=fr_FR.utf8 hledger -f my.journal print

Note some platforms allow variant locale spellings, but not all (ubuntu accepts fr_FR.UTF8, mac osx requires exactly fr_FR.UTF-8).

Known limitations

Command line interface

Add-on command options, unless they are also understood by the main hledger executable, must be written after --, like this: hledger web -- --server

Differences from Ledger

Not all of Ledger's journal file syntax is supported. See file format differences.

hledger is slower than Ledger, and uses more memory, on large data files.

Windows limitations

In a windows CMD window, non-ascii characters and colours are not supported.

In a windows Cygwin/MSYS/Mintty window, the tab key is not supported in hledger add.


COLUMNS The screen width used by the register command. Default: the full terminal width.

LEDGER_FILE The journal file path when not specified with -f. Default: ~/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).


Reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).


The need to precede options with -- when invoked from hledger is awkward.

hledger can't render non-ascii characters when run from a Windows command prompt (up to Windows 7 at least).

When input data contains non-ascii characters, a suitable system locale must be configured (or there will be an unhelpful error). Eg on POSIX, set LANG to something other than C.